Are you a Bully, a Beast of Destruction?
Bullies in the playground tend to have a poor self image, and usually poor upbringing, and parents who don't have time or do not care. Or the parents themselves create the environment of hostility in the first place, if you do not believe this just go to a Little League baseball game and watch how some of the parents behave in the crowd. These behaviors may include such actions as egging the youth to get into fights because they themselves grew up that way, or demanding that their youth must perform better than everyone else's youth. So the bully will get their tensions out in different ways, as an escape mechanism. And one of the ways the bully will substitute care and attention is by picking on other people; this makes them feel good about themselves. By picking on other people it creates an environment where they're not the ones being picked on which gives them comfort and security.
For the Christian who are living contrary to the will of God, especially in matters of morality and values, the best way to cover them up is to attack others who have those values, in that way they can rationalize that they're doing the right thing which gives them comfort and security. We Christians need to be aware of this behavior, so we can correct these behaviors before they blow up and cause mass destruction, by spreading and effecting the body of Christ. That's why it is so imperative that a youth group and church have a caring and loving attitude, it must be bold, so when such cancerous outbreaks occur they can be easily spotted. Just as a forest fire cannot easily spread when the ground is wet, however, a fire will spread rapidly when there is a dry environment. When a youth group or church is wet with love and caring attitudes and healthily biblical teaching, the fires of these diseases cannot spread because there's no fuel to spread them.
Then we can concentrate on caring for that individual. Because the person who usually causes the attack needs ministering in a big way even though they may not want it or feel that they need it. They're hurting too just like a wounded dog. I'm not saying some Christians are dogs, this is just an illustration.
When I was a boy my grandparents had a poodle named Cindy, this was one of the most affectionate and sweetest dogs I've ever met. I was very rough on that dog I would climb on Cindy and hang on her ears and she dragged me around. That dog Cindy would put up with me and love me no matter what I did, and I probably hurt her many times. One day my grandfather was backing out of the driveway and he accidentally ran over the dog, and she was injured. So I ran to her side to pick her up then she bit me, and I was in shock. After all, I was trying to help, I did not run her over, but Cindy was in shock too and did not know what was going on, and her instinct was to protect herself and bite.
People can be that way too, when they're so hurt and so injured and see no other way out of the situation, this will create an environment to relieve that hurting by afflicting hurt on someone else. In most cases this is done unintentionally. But can there are people who are in need of putting other people down with cynicism and sly remarks to make themselves feel good. It is imperative for leaders and mature Christians to be aware of our human behavior, so they can understand what is going on and provide remedies for dysfunctional situations.
This is not a new phenomenon, as the early church struggled with it. The book of James was a counter to the problem of slander and called people to make the necessary changes to their relationships. So they can be more effective for Christ. The main area of needed change was the tongue.
"Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and itself set on fire by hell." (James 3:5-6)
Discussion Questions: Go over each of the "Four Waves of Destruction", and ask:
1. How does this match my experience?
2. How and where have you experienced these "waves"?
3. How does this destruction work?
The word of God is clear; gossip will corrupt the whole person! And the impact we should feel from these verses should bring us down to our knees. Gossip is so inviting. How often have I found myself slipping with my tongue, without the intention of doing any harm. Yet it has! When we have a clear view of gossip's reasons, how gossip comes about, and how gossip destroys; then, we can be better at protecting others from the harm that we may cause.
Gossip causes "Four Distinct Waves of Destruction":
1: First and foremost, gossip violates scripture! The bottom line is we are not taking God's Word seriously enough. We tend to elevate our experiences over God's Word, rather than mistrusting our experiences, and trusting God's direction. Remember God is a God of truth, and He expects His children to be truthful to each other. When we reject the truth of Scripture we are in fact rejecting God Himself.
2: Gossip violates the person's reputation we are speaking about! There are times when we need to speak about another person, to protect some one else. For example, as a Youth Pastor I'm concerned that no one working with youth has any kind of sex offense. So I will check references, this is not gossip. Gossip of this kind is spreading a tale we have heard or have made up without any fact bases to it. Such as stories and tales that are made up just for the sake of putting someone else down. If you hear that someone has not been to youth group or church in a while, that does not mean you spread it around the world. What it does mean is you go to the pastor and/or the leadership, and they deal with it. You may also visit that person yourself in a loving and encouraging way.
3: Gossip violates the person's reputation who is spreading it! It is simple if you spread false information; people will not believe you when you are telling the truth, i.e. the boy who cried wolf. When this happens the sacredness of trust is violated, and when there's no trust then no healthy relationships will be able to develop. Our relationship with God becomes affected, and the congregation's relationships to each other are extremely limited in their ability to grow too. Although typically the person who spreads the disease of gossip their defense mechanism spins it around so that it was everyone else's fault.
4: Gossip affects the listener's impression! That is, the person hearing the rumor may believe it and in turn share it with others, thus creating a never ending cycle of misinformation. Thus the cycles of hurt and pain keep going on. This happened at my church in the south, where one leader's gossip caused the destruction of the church, because people who heard it believed it, and in turn told others. This is also where the gossiping groups come into action. They spend their time gossiping and not on the spiritual disciplines of growth in Christ. So the people get the wrong message. The miss-message of the news is actually not the only thing being misrepresented. Since the method as well as the action by spreading it in the first place is also being misrepresented. So the attitude of "since every one else is doing it", then it is OK that I do it too.
Which one(s) are you dealing with?
© Copyright 1992, 2000, Rev. Richard Joseph Krejcir, Into Thy Word